When I was in college, the story was that you got a 4.0 if your roommate died, but now it seems that said roommate actually has to kill himself/herself for the rule to apply. Of course, no one actually believed this urban myth (thank goodness - my first roommate was an avid hunter). According to The Curve (also known as Dead Man's Curve), however, most state universities actually have this rule in place - and it's not exactly a secret. That being the case, it was only a matter of time before someone exploited this little loophole for his/her own gain.
Don't worry about having pity for the poor victim of this little scheme, for Rand (Randall Batinkoff) is inherently unlikable - he's a slick and spoiled child of great wealth who treats everyone around him like dirt, especially his mousy girlfriend Natalie (Tamara Craig Thomas). Despite this, his two roommates don't really hate him. Chris (Michael Vartan) is just desperate to get into Harvard grad school and Tim (Matthew Lillard) - well, Tim's just messed up in the head. You may remember Matthew Lillard from his role in Scream; he's playing the same kind of psychotic character here - only more psychotic and even more brutish and annoying. Chris is no genius, either, having believed that killing Rand and making it look like suicide would be a simple act to pull off. Serious repercussions - and major plot twists - follow in the wake of his and Tim's actions.
The Curve is an odd little film. Early on, it even seems to have some comedic aspirations - take, for instance, the guys' pre-murder field trip to procure Rand a supply of books and music that a depressed person would supposedly be into (sadly, since the list includes a number of my favorites, I have apparently been deeply depressed for the past quarter century) and Tim's flippant and overly dramatic reactions to the news of his best friend's death. Even Rand's death is far from a neat and efficient job. Not unexpectedly, tension soon begins to grow between Chris and Tim, while Chris' feelings of guilt take a toll on his relationship with his super-hot girlfriend Emma (Keri Russell). By this point, it's pretty clear where this story is heading - until, that is, everything changes and then changes again. Some very effective and well-constructed plot twists really take this film to a whole new level, making this a five-star movie in my opinion.
The Curve is one of those rare direct-to-video movies that should have enjoyed a theatrical release. The plot is tightly constructed and rather ingenious and the acting is quite good all the way around. The film's only real weakness is the likability of some of the major characters. I certainly had no trouble liking Emma and poor little Natalie, but the guys are another story. I had nothing but bad feelings toward Rand, and you really can't feel sorry for Chris at any point because the man did help kill his roommate. Tim, of course, is highly obnoxious and hard to take in large doses, but the unpredictable nature of his actions makes him a fascinating character to observe. Truly, though, the story is the real star of this show, and that is why The Curve is such a great movie.